By Mohammed Wajihuddin
Zohair Afsar was all of two when a frenzied mob of kar sevaks demolished the 400-year-old Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992. Obviously,
he remembers neither the denouement of that black Sunday nor the countrywide dance of death in its aftermath. Growing up in Deoband, the UP town that houses Islamic seminary Darul Uloom—which, despite its lofty history of producing a galaxy of nationalist ulema, has often been pilloried for its regressive fatwas—one would have expected the boy to catch the virus of minority victimhood.
But Zohair, now 19 and a student of mass media in Mumbai’s Burhani College, has a different perspective. “Babri masjid is not an issue with me,’’ he declares. “I want to get educated and excel in my field.’’
Zohair belongs to the post-Babri generation of Muslims who have undergone a remarkable change in mindset. This generation, reaping the opportunities of globalisation, genuinely believes that the past cannot hold it back. For its members it is career rather than an obsession with rebuilding the destroyed mosque that is paramount.
The indications are everywhere. At a meet at Urdu Markaz, a cultural centre in Dongri, a group discussed the three-day career festival that begins on January 8. “We will have stalls for career counselling, workshops on different career options and speeches by role models on how to excel in different professions,’’ says Aamir Edresy of the Association of Muslim Professionals, which is holding the career fest in co-ordination with Anjuman-e-Islam.